Living a Questionable Life

Do you ever wonder about how repeatable our days are? How uninterrupted our lives are? How monotonous things get? It’s not all bad of course? Doing good things regularly, is, well, good.

Do you ever wonder if your life is too predicable?

When was the last time you did something to break from the mold, the monotony, the routine?

Someone wise once said, “When predictability is high, impact is low”.

That begs the question…When was the last time you did something questionable?
I don’t mean something morally questionable or stupid or foolish.
I mean, does our life cause others to question who we are?
Do we just fit in without even thinking?

Jim Carey’s old movie, The Truman show, about someone who is stuck in a routine, is a metaphor or analogy for those who want to dream of something more. For those who might say, “I don’t want to fit in anymore”

How about if I told you that Jesus invites us to live a questionable life?

WHAT? Some might not be able to fathom this, because in their minds, faith is this prim and proper box that religious people fall into. But Jesus definitely didn’t call us to live in a box. He invites us to live in the world, making a difference in every corner we might find ourselves in. How can we do that if we aren’t living questionably?

2 scriptures come to mind here: Colossians 4:2-6 & 1 Peter 3:13-16

In Colossians 4, after Paul talks about being prayerful, watchful, and thankful, he challenges the reader to be wise in how they speak to those outside of their community – seasoning their conversations with salt, filling them with grace. Then Paul says, “So You May Answer Everyone”

He’s saying, live in such a way, that inspires, spurs on, begs for questions. Because answers are only answers if someone is asking a question.

It’s in 1 Peter 3 where we are really challenged to make a splash with our life, and define who we are to those watching…

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.”  But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

What is Peter getting at here? What makes a questionable life?

Give Jesus a prominent spot in your heart

In other words, “In your hearts, give Christ a unique place”

Paul says something similar in Col 3…Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated…”

Jesus also says something similar…(Luke 12) do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it…(Matt 6) “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,

Peter is saying – Who you are is dictated by what your heart values– what occupies the space of your heart. Peter is simply saying, give Jesus the prominent place in your heart.

Let Jesus leak out into your life

Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. (the message)

For Peter, every day is an opportunity to live a questionable life, where you live and act in such a way that people question why.

Peter’s example is? Doing Good! That’s it. Good?

But for Peter, this is an alternative way of life. The good life for Peter is a life of values, of virtue, of hope, of love, of kindness. We have simplistic view of GOOD, but it’s the opposite. It’s profound.

Doing good, even when it’s hard, especially when it’s hard…is the questionable thing Jesus is inviting us to.

For Peter, this is how Jesus leaks out of us. By living out the good values of God’s kingdom. (peace, joy, kindness, justice, compassion)

Jesus’ place in our hearts effects those around us, only when he leaks out of us. That is questionable living.

Peter, in this brilliant letter says, our lives can spur on questions – our lives, our actions, our way of doing life in the world – hope, peace, love, mercy, kindness, etc, is what get’s people asking questions…leading them to much more than predictability.


Surprise the world
Don’t be predictable
Live a life that gets the attention of others

Have them asking…

Why are you hopeful? (when things look dismal)
How do you have energy to do good? (when I can hardly get up to go to work)
How can you be so calm or patient or joyful? (when circumstances are crummy)
Why does it seem like you walk to the beat of a different drum?

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

small(er) group questions:

What do you think about this quote?
“When predictability is high, impact is low.”

Take some time to read 1 Peter 3:13-16. What are some initial take a ways?

Colossians 4 challenges our conversations with those who don’t follow Jesus to be seasoned with salt, and filled with grace. 1 Peter 3 challenges us to respond to questions with gentleness & respect.
What does that mean for you?
What does that look like?
Why is this so important?

What does it mean to live a questionable life? What kind of lives make people ask questions? Is this hard work? Should it come naturally?

Why and How can Christianity surprise the world?

What are you praying about or praying for today?Exodus Week 3 – Parent Take Home

NAKED: when the church strips down to its essentials – (the new) bullhorn

You’ve all seen this guy…the guy on the corner of a busy city street…yelling at people he doesn’t know…
– the one with the pamphlets
– the one with the loud voice
– the one who sounds angry
– the one who’s talking, but nobody is really listening (are they?)

This of course, is Bullhorn guy, who I have a few problems with…
– he’s loud, he’s angry, he’s talking to people he doesn’t know, he’s condemning, harsh, irrelevant, etc.
– he’s unfortunately painted with the same brush as you and me
– it’s unfair that our faith is still associated with this kind of image

But…here’s the dilemma…no matter what the bullhorn guy does, we, as followers of Jesus, are still called to share the gospel story and the message of Jesus. Our mission is still to let others know.

So what if we could rebrand the Bullhorn? What if the Bullhorn could get a better rap? A new identity? Create and leave a better impression and taste in people’s mouth?

There is only one way this can happen – if our loud speaker is not an electronic tool, but a message of Love, Hope, Peace, & of course, Jesus.

Over the last few weeks we’ve tried to strip down the layers of what it means to be a church. We’ve narrowed things down to a few essentials. We’ve talked about Tables, Microphones, Notes – Communion, Worship, Teaching. All of these, if understood and experienced well, can be and should be things that attract people to Jesus.
Table = brings people together  /  Worship = brings people to God  /  Scripture = brings people to Jesus
Loud Lives/BullHorn = brings Jesus to the world

One of our essential layers is this: Sharing the story of Jesus. Living loud the gospel message. Matching action with words that combats the noise of hate, unrest, injustice, and brokenness.

A place in scripture that helps us see this well? 1 Thessalonians 1.

The Thessalonians were a young church. Maybe just over a year old. Some might say that younger Christians tend to be louder about their faith. I agree and disagree. Anyone captivated by the message of Jesus can’t help but share it. The maturing ones know how to show and tell!!!

Here’s what Paul says…

Three words / Three trail markers (1:2-3)

We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers.We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labour prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul starts with 3 words…with trail markers of their faith in Jesus. 3 things that seem to really be getting people’s attention: FAITH / LOVE / HOPE. These words are connected to very practical and down to earth terms: Vocation / Labour / Patience.

is connected to your vocation (that’s what this word means in the greek = ergon).
– Faith is something that is seen and produced by what you do, and who you are every day.

Love is connected to your effort
– Love is more than a feeling
– Love is work  (i.e. a labour of love)
– Agape is an all encompassing love

Patience is inspired by Hope
– Hope isn’t based on escaping circumstances through ignorance, but dealing with things
– Paul’s hope is always JESUS
– In this particular text, patience means taking on problems and suffering that actually create opportunity

For Paul, nothing speaks louder than these 3 words in action!!!

Let’s see how Paul reaffirms this theme…

More than words…tell & show (1:4-7)

For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.
You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. 

There’s no way that the church grew in the first century without an exhibition of power from the Holy Spirit. Demonstrable faith…love…and hope.

You think it’s just words? NO. It’s Power!
You think it’s just words? NO. It’s you, living this out for people to see what this gospel is all about.

What’s the example Paul gives? Suffering. It’s his go to illustration or example.

Their faith, love & hope come out loud and clear because they were able to have JOY in the midst of SUFFERING.
– a huge theme in scripture
– Joy in Suffering (for Paul, the best way to model faith)

Paul introduces the idea of being an imitator…a model if you will…
– a pattern for people to follow
– models for people to see how these the new clothes fit
– like one big fashion show.

This quote about fashion helps us understand Paul a little here.
“People stare…make it worth their while” (H.W.)

Paul’s telling this young church that as they’ve been living out their faith, people have been watching. The world was staring…and they made it worth their while!!!

And here is the final and most important part of today’s text…The BULLHORN comes out.

Is the message RINGING out from our lives too? (1:8)

The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it,

Because of their faith, their love, their hope – Because they have been showing, in action, the power of the Spirit – Because of the their modelling skills and the way they can have JOY in Suffering…Their message RANG out from them.

The word is out
People are talking
The news is spreading
The message is being heard
The BULLHORN is in full force

But this BullHorn isn’t about standing on a corner and yelling at people, it’s about working faith, laborious love, and enduring hope.

This kind of RINGING has to be an essential for us who follow Jesus and gather as community.

Let’s TAKE this HOME:

I have teenage kids. Sometimes they come home after school and are quiet. But sometimes they enter the door talking up a storm, telling us how amazing their day was. I don’t have to pry it out of them. They simply offer up their feedback and stories. Why? Because in their point of view, they have good news to share. You can’t shut them up (and I love listening to it…most of the time:).

We have good news to share.
We have a story that brings joy out of suffering.
A story that requires faith, but spurs on love, and inspires hope.
We have news about Jesus, who is the king of redemption, healing and justice.

It shouldn’t take much to get the story out of us.

Now know this…

Living loud isn’t about volume, it’s about impact. 
Loud is only good when it does good.

You can be a quiet person and lead a loud life.
You can be an introvert and make a huge splash where ever you go.
You don’t need a mic or a speaker or an old school bullhorn to get people’s attention.
Just live out your faith in a way that gets people’s attention. Nothing fancy, but definitely impacting.

Think about these final quotes…

“We are a blessed people & a sent people”

“In the daily rhythms for everyone everywhere, we live our lives in the market place of this world. In homes and neighbourhoods, in schools and on farms, in hospitals in businesses…In those places, by simple grace, we are hints of hope…splashes of love…sprinkles of faith.”

May the things we do…and the things we say…cut through the noise of greed, of materialism, of politics, of selfishness, and may the message of Jesus RING out and slowly get the attention of those he loves and we love.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

small(er) group questions:

What’s you’re impression of ‘the bullhorn guy’? Anything wrong with his or her approach?

We’ve walked through 4 essentials in this series. Any one in particular stand out as more important or impactful? (Eucharist, Worship, Teaching, Sharing Faith)

1 Thessalonians 1 is packed with challenges. Think and talk about these things…

  • why do words like faith, love & hope speak so loudly?
  • what speaks louder, words or actions?
    • can you have one without the other, or is balance important?
  • seems like Paul puts the responsibility on us to be imitators and models? hmmmm?
    • “people are staring…are we making it worth their while?”
  • joy in suffering is talked about so much. why?
  • how can Jesus’ message RING out from you?

“We are blessed & sent (gathered & scattered) to be hints of hope & splashes of love” (discuss)

What should you be praying for tonight?

Small Groups are back!

We’re back for another round of small groups and here are the details! We’re still working out the details for a young families group so stay tuned for that!

Wednesday Small Groups

Wednesday October 18th 6PM
Potluck at Josh & Laura Fletcher’s
22 Bexley Cres, Brooklin ON

Wednesday November 1st 6PM
Potluck at Sarah & Jordan’s
9485 Baldwin St. N, Ashburn ON

Wednesday November 15th 6PM
Potluck at Josh & Laura Fletcher’s
22 Bexley Cres, Brooklin ON

Wednesday November 29th 6PM
Potluck at Sarah & Jordan’s
9485 Baldwin St. N, Ashburn ON

Thursday Small Groups

Thursday October 19th 7:30PM
Ron & Deb’s House – Whitby
(74 Downey Dr, Brooklin, L1M 1J6)

Thursday October 26th 7:30PM
Ron & Deb’s House – Whitby

Thursday November 2nd 7:30PM
Ron & Deb’s House – Whitby

Thursday November 9th 7:30PM
Ron & Deb’s House – Whitby

Thursday November 16th 7:30PM
Ron & Deb’s House – Whitby

Thursday November 23rd 7:30PM
Ron & Deb’s House – Whitby

Thursday November 30th 7:30PM
Ron & Deb’s House – Whitby


The Park – October “Take Homes”


This week at The Park we are beginning a new series!!

The next five weeks we will be looking at the story of Exodus and focusing on the life of Moses.
Each week we will be providing “Take Homes” for you to use to continue the discussion at home with your kids. They will be available on our website and sent out in the weekly recap emails. So keep your eyes peeled for those!

An administrative reminder that we are redoing/updating our registration at The Park. Thanks to those of you who stopped by the registration table last week to fill out family registration forms!
If you have not done so yet, please grab a registration form this week to fill out. ALL families (new and old) will need to complete this registration. Get your Family Registration Form here!

JK/SK Take Homes:
Listen Week 1 – Parent Take Home
Listen Week 2 – Parent Take Home
Listen Week 3 – Parent Take Home
Listen Week 4 – Parent Take Home
Listen Week 5 – Parent Take Home

Grades 1-6 Take Homes:
Exodus Week 1 – Parent Take Home
Exodus Week 2 – Parent Take Home
Exodus Week 3 – Parent Take Home
Exodus Week 4 – Parent Take Home
Exodus Week 5 – Parent Take Home


I wanna be grateful. You?

It is Thanksgiving weekend…a Holiday that I think we get right.

Not all Canadian Holidays are created equal. I love every day off I get, don’t get me wrong, but there’s something about taking a day off to be grateful that so resonates with our faith, and is good for our soul.

Of course we are smart enough to know that being grateful needs to be an every day thing.


RW Emerson once said, “Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously…”

Some of us don’t care how we got this holiday, only that we have it. (like the other stat holidays we enjoy)
– Indigenous peoples paused for thanksgiving well before Euro settlers every arrived
– It became common in the 1870s and official in 1957
– It’s always been connected to and associated with being grateful for what we received…harvested.

The question we’d like to get at is: why do so many of us have a hard time being grateful?
– Because we compare what we have verses what we don’t have.
– We start asking…Why me? Why not me? Why them?
– We compare incomes, stuff, toys, experiences, and feel like we get the raw end of the deal.

Think about this: We all know someone who is rich and unhappy, and someone who is far from rich, yet very happy. And we’ve figured out that it’s directly connected to how grateful or ungrateful they are.

A few places in scripture we can go to that challenges us on the importance of being grateful.

Phil 4:11-13
I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

Colossians 4:2
Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.

Heb 13:5-6
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

Thomas Merton said something that directly addresses these verses:
If we are too eager to have everything, we will almost certainly miss even the one thing we need.”

Let’s look at some helpful tips or ways that we can become more grateful or develop the posture of gratefulness:

9 habits/steps of Grateful People 

Spend time with loved ones
Know the value of the little things
Get moving (be active)
Intentionally choose gratitude
Count your blessings / Not what you don’t have
Embrace humility / Embrace the struggle
Open your eyes to those with less
Find Gratitude in every situation


Gratefulness is a posture…a privilege…a position we take. We choose it. We live it. We sit in the seat that says, “I’m grateful for what I have, for who is in my life, for a God who is with me everywhere that I go.

“We are hopeful, only to the degree that we are grateful”

So let’s be grateful!!!